• Kyodo

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Hiromasa Ezoe, founder of Recruit Co., the classified advertising conglomerate at the center of a major shares for political favors scandal in the 1980s, died of pneumonia Friday afternoon at a Tokyo hospital. He was 76.

In 2003, Ezoe was given a suspended three-year prison term for bribery after offering shares in a Recruit subsidiary that was going public to politicians, government officials and corporate leaders, in exchange for favors that would help the business expand. He had pleaded not guilty.

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